5 Tips to Optimize Your Warehouse Space
Authored by Pat McAssey
March 13, 2017
Maintaining and organizing a warehouse is no easy task. If you have ever worked in a warehouse you can imagine the difficulties a manager faces while trying to squeeze efficiency from the buildings’ resources & employees. This is especially true for those companies just starting up a business. Due to rapid sales growth, seasonal sales, inventory growth, and other variables, a lot needs to be considered. We will start with five tips to help you build a successful warehouse operation. Managing Inventory, managing warehouse space, acquiring warehouse storage systems, training labor force, and re-arranging existing systems are five key elements to focus on.
1. Managing Inventory
Inventory is one of the biggest challenges facing a warehouse operation. It is essential to gauge inventory cycles and know how much, and how often inventory comes and goes. Most warehouses will feature bar code systems to help automate and accurately provide this information. This knowledge will help you organize and plan storage for your inventory and over time, this should become a standard practice in the warehouse. The type of storage system you choose, whether it be pallet rack, steel shelving, bulk rack, or rivet rack, must be ideal for picking and inventorying your merchandise. If you sell multiple products, identifying slow moving and fast moving products will help you make smart storage decisions.
2. Managing Warehouse Space
Designing a warehouse storage system takes a lot of planning and strategizing, and you may always need to adjust over time. However, American Surplus provides professional CAD layouts that can help make this process more manageable and with the ability to see the big picture, you can make calculated decisions about which types of storage equipment to invest in, whether it be pallet rack, steel shelving, mezzanines, pick modules, conveyor systems, etc. The main idea to focus on, is creating as much usable space within your warehouse as possible, both on the ground, as well as vertical space. A key piece of equipment that we offer is installing a mezzanine, which can essentially double the size of a given space.
3. Acquiring Warehouse Storage Systems
There are many various storage systems you can buy, and they all depend on your individual business & its needs. Pallet Rack, Shelving, Mezzanines, and any combination of the three are the most common options. Once you determine your inventory storage needs, you can speak with a salesman from American Surplus who can design a warehouse system to fit your specific inventory sizes & quantities. A CAD layout can be provided so that you can visualize your entire warehouse prior to making any decisions. If needed, an onsite visit can be scheduled to brainstorm and go over ideas in your warehouse. Maximizing your vertical space with a mezzanine is a huge advantage in any warehouse storage system.
4. Training Labor Force
Once you have your warehouse storage system installed and ready to go, you want to train your warehouse staff to know the in’s and out’s of your storage system & processes. First and foremost, safety in the warehouse is essential and with proper training, you can get everyone on the same page and reduce your exposure to safety issues. Establish goals for your inventory maintenance and shipping and receiving crew will save you time and money when receiving inventory and shipping out orders. It is critical to communicate your goals and why they are important to ensure that all employees understand their job and the importance of their job. Training will help you achieve a great level of optimization in your warehouse.
5.Redesigning Existing Systems
Finally, there may be a scenario, most commonly rapid growth, in which your current warehouse system is not enough. There are essentially two options for you and your team, you can redesign your existing space, or you can move to a new, larger warehouse. When you run into this problem, you are going to want to consult professional help and get an expert opinion, especially if this is your first move/redesign. It may be possible to re-arrange or add storage areas to your existing space, all depending on how drastic your growth change is. If you work with American Surplus, we store all of our drawings in our system, so we can revisit your original layouts and come up with options to help manage your business growth and make something work in your existing warehouse. However, if you are growing too fast for your current warehouse, we can help you plan for the future and grow into a larger warehouse. Our install teams can dismantle your existing warehouse and relocate your operation to a new building.